Why do factories need Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)? A checklist to choose the right AMRs

The global mobile robotics market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.34 per cent from approximately US$11.4 billion in 2019 to US$30.9 billion by 2026.    

The biggest drivers of growth are rising labour costs in developed markets, reshoring of supply chain due to the Covid19 pandemic, and the adoption of intelligent manufacturing practices to keep pace with competition.

Why do you need AMRs?

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are intelligent and enable the automation of material handling and transportation needs, with the flexibility to adapt to workflow changes at your workplace. AMRs have the capability to handle heavy, fragile or high-value payloads. Also, mobile robots complete repetitive tasks more efficiently than humans.

The AMR market is constantly evolving, with new applications being developed by OEMs and system integrators to suit use cases in a wide range of industries. Examples include pallet and trolley movers, and robot manipulators integrated into AMRs for picking and handling.


Common Pain Points in Manufacturing, Healthcare Facilities

Human errors in material handling and deliveries –

To meet time-sensitive manufacturing deadlines, companies need to find ways to reduce human errors in intralogistics processes and increase efficiencies. AMRs provide a solution by completing dull, dirty or dangerous tasks accurately and safely in a dynamic and people-rich environment, on a 24/7 timetable.  

Learn more about how SESTO AMRs are integrated into a scheduling system to automate the transportation of heavy lots placed on trolleys between drop points and test stations.

Long-distance delivery leads to operators’ fatigue and occupational injuries – 

Traveling long distance within facility premises is not a productive use of employee’s time. Humans are prone to fatigue, and repetitive handling of heavy loads over long distances may lead to injuries. With AMRs, workers are no longer burdened by constant trips throughout the facility, and can focus on critical tasks that directly add value. 

Learn more about how to increase productivity, safety and traceability within a large semiconductor plant with the help of SESTO AMRs. 

Ease of monitoring deliveries – 

In addition to improving the reliability of delivery processes, the AMR’s backend software allows factory operators to gain real-time monitoring of tasks without having to travel to the AMR’s location. AMRs can work collaboratively in a fleet to manage jobs efficiently, freeing manufacturers to focus on the larger picture of task accomplishment. 

Learn more about how SESTO helped operators to track the movement of deliveries.

Factors to consider when choosing an AMR

Types of payload capacity available

What is the size and weight of the materials, and parts to be handled and transported? This question will help you choose the right AMR with the appropriate payload capacity.

Typically, AMRs with higher payload capacities are larger in size. Therefore, a related consideration is the operating environment, especially the width of pathways utilised by the AMR. Congested and narrow passageways will not accommodate larger sized AMRs. So a lower payload AMR may need to make more trips in order to achieve the through-put requirements.

Ease of Set up and Deployment

An AMR fleet management software (FMS) enables end-users to set up missions with the autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to accommodate individual desired workflows. An intelligent fleet management system can reduce the number of robots required and optimize their performance with intelligent routing and task allocation. Jobs will be completed in the most productive way so that all tasks are completed in the least amount of time, with the least distance travelled, by the fewest possible robots. This enables manufacturers to maximize their investment.

Ability to Navigate within Narrow Aisles

Compact mobile robots that can move bi-directionally at the same speed and are designed to navigate narrow pathways are in great demand for space-constrained facilities. Also, the AMRs should ideally perform a spot turn or reverse out from a dead-end corridor after completing their delivery tasks.

Safety Measures

In a recent report, 72% of manufacturers reported that collisions and other shop floor accidents are a major challenge for businesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shared that in 2019, there were 5,333 fatal occupational injuries recorded in the US alone. One significant consideration for businesses is to ensure worker safety.  Mobile robots equipped with advanced safety lasers can collaborate and operate safely alongside humans in dynamic environments. When these AMRs encounter an obstacle while performing a task, they will either stop, skirt around the obstacle or find an alternate route if the path is permanently blocked. Such advanced environment detection technology ensures that robots can move around safely in places where people are present. For companies with facilities worldwide, it’s important to check with the mobile robot maker to ensure standards compliance in each region of operation.

Teammate Working on SESTO Magnus_FunctionalTesting

Operating Uptime

Operators with multiple deliveries to make throughout the course of a work shift need to consider the operational uptime of the AMRs. Most AMRs operate for about 6 to 10 hours on a single charge. Smarter AMRs feature algorithms will automatically dispatch the robot to charge when the battery level is low.

The Flexibility of AMR 

The AMR needs to be easily customizable so that they can be modified as needed to suit specific requirements. AMRs used to operate and automate intralogistics deliveries need to have the flexibility to handle top modules that are custom-built for the payloads. Examples of these include shelving modules, lifter mechanisms and collaborative robots. In addition, AMRs should have the protocols for a machine-to-machine data exchange for industrial automation, and APIs for integration with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).

To learn more about AMR solutions and how they can improve delivery and processes at your workplace, please contact us here.